With Expired Gas Masks and Shelters Next to ANPP: Problems of Geghakert Residents (Photos)

With Expired Gas Masks and Shelters Next to ANPP: Problems of Geghakert Residents (Photos)


EcoLur presents the results of a study conducted in Geghakert community in Armavir Region regarding the impact of the ANPP, extent of emergency preparedness, awareness of safety measures, participation in decision-making and community social issues.

Geghakert community, which is only 5km away from the ANPP and has about 3,000 inhabitants, will not be able to shelter the villagers in the event of a radiation threat. There are no shelters in the community. Some of the villagers have basements.

 The only community shelter left in the Soviet Union as a "gift"

In the yard of Geghakert school there is an underground building which was built in parallel with the construction of the school in the 1970s. This building is difficult to call a shelter, especially since its entrances are currently closed, and even if you so desire it cannot be accessed.

Artsvik Hovhannisyan, a teacher of military science at the school, told EcoLur that it can barely accupy 20 children, while 275 attend school. According to the concept of a school evacuation plan, in the event of a nuclear threat, the residents should reachon foot near the bridge in Echmiadzin, from where the vehicles will transport them to a safer place, Shahumyan community.

A community evacuation plan or nuclear safety posters are not posted in accessible community locations. Community Head Tsolak Hakobyan told EcoLur that they exist and are posted in the village municipality. According to the community head, they also have horns, which can alert them to danger if needed.

Expired Gas Masks for Emergency Use

In case of radiation hazard, community residents first need gas masks and special iodine preparations. Community residents told EcoLur that they do not have all that, but only essential medicines are available in their homes. Instead, the community school is equipped with gas masks. According to a military science teacher, there are 100, but it is difficult to say to what extent Soviet-Union-era gas masks are capable of protecting them from danger.

According to him, some 30 years ago they received about 30 gas masks, which are relatively new, differing in their structure, but as he says, there is no qualitative difference.

 We get radiated, we pay for electricity...

Community Head Tsolak Hakobyan says the lack of subsidies for electricity tariffs in their community is unacceptable. "We both get radiated and pay," he said. Although they do not use electricity for heating purposes in the community, they still pay little. Mostly they use wood and gas at a rate of 70/30 percent for heating.

 The Residents are unanimous over the lifetime extension of ANPP second unit  - they oppose it.

Water problem

The residents of Geghakert have a serious problem with drinking and irrigation water. The community mainly deals with farming and cattle breeding, but the villagers are mostly affected by the lack of irrigation water. In 2011-2012,the water has dropped to about 1.5m on this side,”the residents said,

 According to the community head, there are currently 17 artesian wells in the community, of which 6 are functioning.

“We have submitted an application to the government to repair it. A few days ago, they promised to make it." According to Hakobyan, the amount of irrigation water has reduced by about three times, as a result of which 360 to 80 hectares of community lands are not cultivated.  On the other hand, the problem of drinking water is urgent in the village. “The drinking water network is ina poor condition. There is no day without any accidents. We have applied to "Veolia Water". They come, bring a car and a meter of wire. The rotten pipe is wrapped, tied, four days pass, it blows up again. The whole network is rotten,” the community headsaid.

November 21, 2019 at 15:10